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The Communicators

Robert McDowell News/Business. (2013) FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. New.

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00:30:00

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Channel 17 (141 MHz)

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mpeg2video

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ac3

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704

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480

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Fcc 3, Robert Mcdowell 3, Mega Hurtz 2, At&t 2, Dubai 2, Manhattan 2, Us 1, Handcuffs 1, Wyoming 1, Or L.a. 1, Chicago 1, Thoselicenses 1, Korea 1, U.s. 1, Buta 1, Un 1, Orover 1, Verizon 1, Bill Nelson 1, Rockefeller 1,
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  CSPAN    The Communicators    Robert McDowell  News/Business.  (2013)  
   FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. New.  

    March 23, 2013
    6:30 - 7:00pm EDT  

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brain cells at the same be able to understand how the circuits work. that is the brain activity map that is being talked about. we do not have a timetable yet , but ittones and costs is an exciting moment to put something that we could not have thought of. more with the nih director, dr. francis collins, on c-span's "q&a." >> coming up on c-span, "the communicators" speaks with robert mcdowell. that is followed by our series influence andes: image." later, a discussion on black history and culture. is the seniorwell republican on the federal communications commission's.
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i want to start with the topic of spectrum. robert kaplan was quoted yesterday as saying that he thinks that the current spectrum auction schedule is due to failure. there are two double open issues to work out. and because of that, there will not be enough interest of parties to participate in the auction. >> first, thank you for having me back. and what you are talking about is that congress passed a law last year. that was for broadband purposes. trying to analyze it for purposes of putting together what would quite literally be the most complex spectrum auction in history. i know that sounds like a hyperbole, but it is true.
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i have expressed caution. i am not doom and gloom, but cautious in terms of when that will happen and how it will happen. i'm not sure we will yield as much spectrum is first advertised. 120 mega hurtz. then that was pared back because people forgot about border interference with tv stations. 60 mega hurtz. there is a potential for channel sharing. that would take a lot of broadcasters in these markets. it is complex. we need to be careful. there are a lot of different parts are. there does not seem to be a lot of agreement among the parties.
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are thee segments reverse auction, how cheaply abroad caster gives up -- broadcaster gives up -- money would go to the treasury and help fund the wireless network. there is the repacking aspect. for broadcasters to stay on the air, where would they be located on the dial? where would the wireless broadband companies be located on the dow? what were the terms be? there are fabulous engineers at the fcc. we need more of them for anyone interesting in that and you nearing job, we send in your applications. it takes longer than expected for the spectrum auction to actually happen.
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>> in this process, how do you entice broadcasters to participate? in the steps, what can be done to allay the broadcasters concerns? >> the auction is simple, and it helps. i have learned a lot with those options. try to keep it simple as you can. one question i have and i have not drawn any conclusions, is whether the idea of combining that reverse auction with the forward option in a simultaneous is that overly complex? are you giving potential hitters and broadcasters enough data to
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make their decisions? i think we need to think long and hard. you keep that in a black rocks and have a simultaneous reverse and forward option when bidders are not really quite sure what is available to bid on? there is also software that is put up for inspection. complex.y keeping it simple is step one. step two is a financial incentive for broadcasters to yield that spectrum. for theit the most larger and more crowded cities. there's more opportunity to make money for your broadcaster. that will be harder to entice them to yield. do we need to have a uniform
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price nationwide? we have different values and different markets? >> historically, and different values in different markets has been the way to go. you would not get very far. that folks in manhattan would go for that. they would be thinking of the prices being undercut because of folks in wyoming. this has been done by two graphical market. >> how much are you talking about without involving government run spectrum? each tv station runs on six megahertz.
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it is possible for them to share three megahertz apiece. if you add up those six or those trees, it creates a lot to get to that 60 that folks want in chicago, manhattan, or l.a.. then you find that broadcasters would have to give up their -- >> would government run spectrum be part of this auction process? about a government ,un free, wireless run network there was no basis to that. folks were confusing and inflating the idea of unlicensed spectrum. i have been a proponent of loa unlicensed use of unused tv
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channels in certain markets. they are sort of scrap spectrum, if you will. it is ideal for low powered devices. i am a little skeptical of a nationwide 30 megahertz. that is a big chunk of spectrum. use,haracteristic of that you need large transmitters when you're speaking about the chunks of spectrum. you're talking about harmful transitions i can go a long distance. that means a lot of electricity behind it and the towers. -- big 6towers. i'm a little skeptical of a nationwide, the block spectrum. let's try to have licensees. thean be very good for economy and do all kinds of innovation we can only imagine right now. >> we will go back to todd
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shields from bloomberg news. >> thank you. it is an interesting concept. these big transmitters that covers big areas. --is the alternative vision there is the alternative vision. there would be a lot of small wi-fi hotspots that would be able to handle all of this internet traffic. i think that is some of what was behind the report you mentioned earlier. you mentioned nationwide, free service. isanyone could fulfill that another question. --re is a debate going on when you design the options, how much of the airwaves should be dedicated to these free, unlicensed uses? promotextent that you
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those unlicensed uses, you're not selling it to at&t or t- mobile wow. where are you on that issue? a little bit of unlicensed use or a lot and see what might happen with that? >> we try to offer as much as we can. if broadcasters are giving up six megahertz or reclaim that six megahertz, we should auction that six megahertz. we have plenty of room left over. it is not a zero-sum game. you can have both. your analogy is a good one. >> all right. >> we have voted on an item that would be shorter range. it is the nature of frequency. ,e can have 600 megahertz area which is where the tv stations are. a fundamental point
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about unlicensed services, that is secondary services. they had to yield the right away, so speak, to licensees. if you're having one company or a lot of companies build a proprietary network in a licensed band, that does not really work. there are some licensees that can override that. your walkie-talkie and you can hear the neighbor kids also have walkie-talkies -- if he ever heard another baby crying on your monitor or kids who play pranks with your garage door and open it and stuff, all of that illustrates how chaotic it can be and how interference can result through a license. that is why you need to be careful about how you approach this. in thoselicenses, gaps, there is a robust
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opportunity. it is exciting. it can be a win-win. >> is that the general feeling at the fcc? >> it is a mixed feeling. i think there'll be a difference of opinion on this one. the incentive auction happens, it will be one of the biggest opportunities in many years to transform the use of those airwaves from tv to the mobile devices for which there is great demand. in that opportunity, should the fcc try to ensure that smaller companies have a summation -- having sufficient amount of airwaves? how to make sure that at&t and verizon do not escape with a lion share? >> i think there is a way to give a home to small carriers
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and entrepreneurs and large companies. with the 700 megahertz auction that is part of the digital tv transition, i proposed a plan that would have done just that. that way you could have a home for all of those. what kind of conditions do you place it in the spectrum? there were conditions placed in the auction. into thelarge players spectrum box that we expect smaller players would want. some were scared away by regulation. we do not want that to happen. we should have a place for smaller players. i hope we will. >> you are watching "the communicators" on c-span. our guest this week is robert mcdowell.
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our guest reporter is todd shields of bloomberg news. let's go to the next topic. the chairman has been on since late 2009. his term will be up next year. there might be some turnover at the commission. .> we all have staggered terms the past two years have flown very quickly. we shall see. i get asked this question every couple of years. been thinking about it. >> pinking about what? >> -- thinking about what? >> thinking about several things. at the same time, i love my job. we have a lot of important work to do. >> last week at the senate
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commerce committee, senator rockefeller talked about andence in videogames ordered the fcc to have further monitoring of violence in videogames. what is the fcc role when it comes to that issue? how do you foresee that role? >> when it comes to violence in videogames? pulpit, buta bully no legal role. the issue on violence -- and i ,m a father of three children so this is something that we discussed when it comes to and what is the appropriate thing for children to be watching -- from a constitutional perspective, violence is a sticky issue. what is violence? is a hockey game violence? is the evening news violent? the answer could be yes to all of those.
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there is a first amendment issue there in terms of what the government can do. the fcc has no statute to regular katte violence. , orover cable, satellite the internet. it is an ongoing issue. it is important to senator rockefeller and to me as a parent, but the fcc has no legal authority. >> what if it did? >> that is a big hypothetical. we would need some direction from congress. i have no idea what that would be. >> you mentioned in decency. indecency stance stand in the wake of a decision that was made last summer? they made it more difficult him as i recall how for the fcc to proceed in these areas. >> the water is murky. there are free speech issues.
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we do not have a lot of guidance when it comes to fleeting expletives and whether or not they want to redefine the standards. i think it would be helpful if the commission issued a public notice asking for public content on what our standard should be. i think everyone would be better served if we had defined the standards going forward. i will say this -- for a long time, we had a bout 1 million and a half indecency complaints regarding cable tvs and such. the commission has been able to so we aree lion share down to half one million.
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should cell phones be allowed locked by consumers? >> i have myself one year. i have my cell phone righyt here. you have trademark registration and patents. i want to make sure that whatever happens in this area that we continue to have robust, intellectual property protection. property rights protection. we cannot undermine the freedom to contract. consumers are informed and educated as to what their rights are versus the rights of the maker or carrier might be.
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going forward, we all have roles in terms of making sure we know exactly what we're talking about. we do not want to undermine intellectual property rights. we want consumers the freedom to contract with those carriers and be able to transfer their devices around. they will the device, but not necessarily that until actual property rights. the white house made it clear they support devices when you are not under contract. exactly. if you have a contract, that is a subsidy for your phone. >> you are right.
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i am sure bloomberg reported that. a lot of outlets didn't. so you have these images of consumers being hauled off in handcuffs. that is not happening and it will not happen. you are right. once you own something or on the license to something, then you ought to be able to think about carrier choice. that is available now, by the way. todd shields, tell us what is going on. there is a long history going back. there was a big treaty to go sheesh and in dubai in the past december there was a big treaty in dubai in the past december.
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there were some definition changes in that treaty. it was a divided vote. about 40% of the country showed up for the vote did not sign onto this treaty. 55 countries did not sign on. 89 did sign on to the treaty. about 49 countries did not show up to the treaty negotiations. the countries have until january 1 two sign onto this treaty. there's antime, constitutional invention that will go on in korea in november 2014. between now and then is a crucial time for the internet and u.s. foreign policy. that will happen between now and november 2014 that will shape the outcome. they will elect a new secretary- general. every right in the constitution , the country has been pushing
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for literally international regulation, like the internet. overhave been very patient the years. it sounds like black helicopter conspiracies, but it is not. i'm not optimistic. .he state department has a role we are all unified. congress is unified. we had a rare moment last year where the house and senate resolutions passed with both chambers and really underscoring our view of internet freedom. why is that view important to the developing world? most heartbreaking here. there are a lot of developing world nations that are signing onto this treaty that will undermine the economic future
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and the personal future. it might be because some regimes are more authoritarian. it right lock some of their freedom. that is what is motivating a lot of them. >> to block traffic, if i understand correctly. >> there is a lot going on. companies want to be able to charge websites for consumers accessing those websites. they also want international coverage for having one stop points for content. maybe network congestion and things like that. there will always be some other ratioeason. in reality, i think the motives are much darker. >> if this happens, what is the result for the user at home? >> that is a question.
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in the developing world, it stunts the growth of internet access. if you have a bifurcated internet with an iron curtain across it, it becomes an engineering nightmare. the internet is a global network without borders. our various technologies for trading all of that data. -- there are various technologies for all of that data. a lot of things are free on internet now may no longer be be free because costs are being raised. they could stop the growth of it. it is hard to measure the innovations that never make it to the market due to some governmental action. you cannot measure what never existed. wouldncertainty alone drive up costs and create some chaos and a lot of engineering headache's. hopefully our country and others will stand strong.
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what we really need to do is convince the developing world that this is not good for the human condition over wall. -- overall. >> senator bill nelson called for more information, for the fcc to require more information under the disclose act more political backing information to the displayed ads. >> for the disclose act regarding the disclosure of initical donors to groups the form of ads, it did not past. it is not the law of the land. there has been an argument from both the house and the senate that something called section 3 -- 17 so gives us the authority to do this. section 317 speaks to who pays for the ad of the product on
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air. all of the donors and contributors to any group that may have directly or indirectly funded the add -- in short, i do not think we have the statue to do this. i do not think we have the right place for this debate. that debate should happen in congress. there is a commission that is all about revealing transparency. i think that is a better place for this. >> we have time for one or two questions. .> the net neutrality issue the fcc rules claim to ensure that big companies do not interfere with the content on its way to my house. what happens if the court overturns the fcc?
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what happens if the court supports the fcc? >> excellent question. i believe that was december 2010 on the darkest day for the fcc. internet service providers would somehow interfere with consumers internet traffic, i argued that there is no market study and there is no problem to be solved. second, the fcc did not have the authority to do what it did in an earlier court ruling. there is a similar attempt. the fcc tried to explain itself better. consumers should know that if that should ever happen, what
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is really a hypothetical, there .re plenty of laws on the books there are a lot of ways for internet providers. >> in a competitive business sense. >> exactly. >> there are more and more consumers having a choice of at least for wireless broadband providers. plus on licensees. censees.e un-li the internet operates -- it would feel this effort for there to be global regulation of the internet.
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ironically, some companies that push for net neutrality like google, have thousands of miles of servers and routers and data services. i also described at&t and verizon. from an engineering perspective, some of these tech companies look just like telecom companies. the telecom companies are this close to being regulated as a monopoly service. if he did that in the u.s. under title 2 -- if we do that in the u.s. under title 2, it would be catastrophic for the internet. >> unfortunately we are out of time. robert mcdowell, we appreciate you being here. todd shields from bloomberg. >> thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> c-span brought to you as a public service